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Yuanmingyuan – a historical highlight

The ruins of the Old Summer Palace, also known as Yuanmingyuan or the Garden of Perfection and Light, are located in the environs of Beijing and are a popular visitor attraction. This picturesque garden was initially created in 1709 at the time of rule of the Qing Dynasty’s Emperor Kangxi. In the following 150 years, the parkland was enhanced and expanded to become a fully-fledged imperial pleasure garden.

The park is seen to consist of three main sections, namely Yuanmingyuan, Changchunyuan (translated as ‘Garden of Eternal Spring’) and Wanchunyuan (or ‘Garden of Blossoming Spring’). Today the garden has been restored to some extent, but presents only a semblance of its former grandeur, featuring the remnants of the ancient structures and sites of interest such as ponds and streams and other fascinating natural features. The site is considered to epitomize the ancient Chinese art of landscaping gardens.

However, there are aspects of this location which differentiate it from other Chinese pleasure gardens, notably the presence of Western architectural elements. Western influences may be seen in features like the Throne at the Waterworks, the Grand Waterworks and the unique Labyrinth. In fact, in its heyday, it was called the ‘Versailles of the East’ and the ‘garden of gardens’, and it was renowned as one of the most magnificent landscaped gardens in the world.

In times past, the venue also contained an imperially themed museum featuring a vast collection of volumes, cultural artefacts and royal treasures. Today, many of these treasures may be seen in a number of European museums. An exhibition hall has been set up in the garden that presents a reproduction of the site at the height of its glory. Refurbishment of a number of the scenic sites and original edifices has created numerous locations at which visitors can relax and enjoy the balmy climate of the area.
Offering a delightful experience for the culture lover and recreational sightseer alike, the historical complex of Yuanmingyuan provides much to admire and enjoy. Visitors who enjoy the finer things in are and are seeking a Beijing luxury hotel will find an outstanding selection in the Grand Millennium Beijing. This excellent city hotel Beijing offers provides comfortable and elegant accommodation with an array of luxury amenities.

Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.

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